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Advice for College Freshmen

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 @ 01:28 PM

College FreshmenIvyWise's Advice for College Freshmen

It's just about time for last year's high school seniors to become college freshmen. Armed with school supplies, extra-long twin sheets, and pictures of family and friends, the college class of 2016 is about to embark on an exciting four-year journey. Recently, our counselors, many of whom are former admissions officers, shared their best advice for students embarking on the college application process. This week, our staff members, including recent graduates from Barnard College, Wesleyan University, and New York University, share the advice we wish we had received before leaving home.

Remember why you're there

The first year of college is full of new experiences: new friends, new location, and new opportunities. It can be easy to get caught up in all the fun; however, remember that you are ultimately in college to get an education. Be diligent about completing homework and assignments and don't blow off classes or study groups. If you go out with friends on Tuesday night, make sure you're present and prepared for class on Wednesday!

Learn how to budget

Financial fluency is an important life skill and college is the perfect place to learn how to budget. Living on your own for the first time forces you to learn how to spend wisely. If you can, take a course on financial planning. As Dr. Kat says, if you live like you have a full-time salary while you're a student, you'll be living like a student when you have a full-time salary.   

Get involved on campus

College offers unprecedented access to activities and events, so take advantage! Being involved on campus, such as joining a club, an intramural sports team, or volunteering allows you to learn new ideas, make friends, and discover interests you might not have even known you had.

If you need further motivation to get involved, consider that many on-campus events include free food. When the dining hall becomes repetitive and going out becomes prohibitively expensive, you may be able to take advantage of a free meal while also listening to an interesting panel discussion or watching a documentary screening.

Flaunt your status as a student

Many places offer student discounts, including retail stores, restaurants, museums, and theaters. Learn which businesses offer discounts and make the most of your student ID. You may be surprised at the wide variety of companies that reward students just for being students: Apple, J. Crew, Chipotle, and the New York Times are just a few of the companies that offer student discounts. 

Collaborate, don't compete

With so much talent in such a small place, some students lose site of the fact that it's college and is a time to learn and grow (both academically and socially). Use your fellow students as a resource rather than as your rivals. College is a great time to network and build a portfolio that can be used when applying for jobs.

As you transition to this next phase of your life, keep an open mind and don't be afraid to try new things. Best of luck from all of us at IvyWise!

Sarah Shanahan

Written by Sarah Shanahan

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